According to Jezebel, Chicagoland mommy blogger Jenna Myers Karuvinidis freaked out when she found out that dads were helping out with bathroom duty (hee-hee, bathroom doodie!) at her daughter’s preschool. Jez quotes her ranting and raving about men being sexual predators (I mean, really!), but when I went to get the full scoop on Karuvinidis’ site, I noticed her original post has been pulled.
Karuvinidis is quoted as having written:
Perhaps when my daughter is older and can better communicate we can talk about who is okay to touch what, but for my two-year-old, I want the clear idea to be “men don’t go anywhere near that part of my body.” Not the friend’s dad at school, not the friend’s dad at our house while mommy is busy hosting a BBQ. Not the new strange man in class, not the new strange man anywhere.
The MensRights community on Reddit has had a field day with Karuvinidis’ piece, making snarky comments like, “I wonder if she lets her own husband change her daughter” and, “It’s the, ‘I know it’s wrong but I just feel this way’ kind of excuse. Try that one with racism and see how far it gets you. ‘I don’t want a black person helping my child to the bathroom. I know it’s racist, but I just don’t feel comfortable with it.’”
As the Reddit members note, Karuvinidis “got a motion for a policy change” at her daughter’s school, which forced one commenter to respond, “Thank you for taking society a step backwards!” According to Jezebel, school officials assured Karuvinidis “that men would no longer take her daughter to the bathroom.” They also “formed a task committee to research standard practices at other preschools and will institute a change based on that and other findings.” Jezebel’s Anna North adds, “Sounds like a measured and reasonable response to us.”
But is it a reasonable response? Is it fair to assume that men — the fathers of Karuvinidis’ daughter’s classmates — are pedophiles who will use potty-break time to molest innocent preschoolers? North writes, “If Karvunidis is trying to teach her very young daughter that only very specific people are allowed to see her private parts (a good lesson for a child), then maybe it’s not such a good idea to have a rotating cast of volunteers doing bathroom duty … If only staff were allowed to help kids with bathroom-type stuff, then Karuvinidis could teach her daughter that only teachers can take her to the bathroom, rather than that men, in general, are dangerous.” Clearly the school needs volunteers, so why not just have two volunteers at a time — no matter which sex — help with bathroom duty? That way no one is ever alone with the children, period.
It’s a shame that as a society we still feel uncomfortable with the idea of men being alone with children. Of course I understand where some of that sentiment comes from; the history of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, for example, hovers in the minds of many. According to the Reddit community, Karuvinidis’ own husband doesn’t feel comfortable being alone with children that aren’t his. They quote her original post as saying, “My husband said the same thing, that he would never dare be alone with a strange child, just because of the potential of false accusations. He even said that if he ever found himself home with Kira and a friend of hers that he would sit in one spot with a camera on him at all times until I came home LOL.”
I’m not so sure that’s something to LOL about, and I know the MensRights community on Reddit agrees. As Jezebel notes, there is a lot of anti-feminist rhetoric to overlook on the Reddit discussion board, but that aside, I think their outrage is understandable. What do you think? Should Dads be allowed to volunteer to help with bathroom duty at their child’s preschool? Or is it just weird for men to be alone with naked kids that aren’t theirs?